A warm welcome to everyone. Let me start off by saying that everyone will have to deal with ants at some point, whether it's in their homes, their work place or outside. Between spring and summer the nasty little critters build enormous nests and reproduce by the millions swarming everywhere. This hub will help you remove the ants and keep them away from your home for good using all natural, safe products that are suitable to be used around children, pets and in bedrooms.
In no way does having ants in your home mean you are dirty, on the contrary, ants love various different things depending on the type of ant. I would also like to add a small disclaimer that I am not a professional exterminator, please be careful if you choose to use these tips and be mindful of people or pets with allergies. If your ant infestation is severe then please call someone who can help.
Why Do I have Ants?
The question people continually ask regardless of how clean their house is or who they are. You have ants because it is not only their season to breed out of control, but it is also because you have something that is attracting them.
- Sugar e.g. spilled cola, cane sugar, fructose (from fruits) and other sweets. Jelly is another one.
- Processed foods such as noodles, sauces and many forms of junk food.
- The warm environment of your home.
- A hidden spot to nest.
Ants don't care who you are or how much your foam insulation costs, they may well nest in it and absolutely destroy it not only causing you hassle, but also a lot of money. On the contrary to popular believe, the most common type of house ant is the Carpenter ant which does NOT destroy wood.
The First Stage of Extermination.
You really need to figure out where they are coming in and where they are headed. There's no use trying to cure an ant problem if they are here there and everywhere and you have no idea where they are from or going to in your home. Their nest will be either in your walls, attic, basement or even under the floor or it may well be outside (most common) Ants commonly enter the home through cracks in the walls, gaps under doors, the windowsill and from under the floor.
When you have figured out where they are coming from, you need to start by blocking it off. Cement is the sure fire way to block and so is grouting the corners or cracks. It is best to cover and seal all cracks and places, just covering one will not stop them, they will find another way in and don't give up easily.
- Grouting cracks, gaps and small areas.
- Nailing wood across.
- Using other strong sealants
- Even powerful duct tape can help to keep ants out.
Even if you find their entrance, search for more possible areas. Get all skirting boards fixed, any floor attachments tightened and any window sills checked, filled with paint or seals to keep them out.
Stage Two - Your Sugars
The ants want what you have and they will take it by sneaky force. If you are someone that keeps sugary drinks, sweets and treats by your bedside, STOP. If you leave food out of the fridge or don't seal packets of sweets, biscuits or other treats off, TAPE THEM UP and put them in a cupboard. Remember, ants can climb. Store fruit in the fridge, it also helps to keep it fresh!
If you are eating somewhere make sure you dispose of all packaging, leftovers and drinks bottles properly. Especially if it's in your bedroom, throw them out, put them in another room or even toss them out the window for now, just get them out of any room. Once opened, the ants can SMELL them, that's how they find things, even from outside and one tiny whiff of sugar and they will be straight in with their army. Don't think "it will be okay until morning" or "I'll do it later" get it out straight away.
Move furniture and wash the floors, vacuum the carpets and the floor, wipe every surface down thoroughly. It's easy to splash a small amount of a fizzy drink somewhere and not notice it. Be sure you check any books or anything sitting around the food area. If you find a gap in the floor or the floor trimming is loose, stick the vacuum there and put it on high power to be sure you suction those ants out.
Don't leave food out at all, keep all fizzy drinks e.g. cola, lemonade, cherryade, fruit juice in the fridge, keep all desserts, treats, sweets and anything that can be put in there away. If it can't use a resealable container or baggie that you can put your cakes, biscuits and other treats in where nothing can get to them and store them properly in a clean cupboard. Take out the bin liners as often as possible or put food straight in to the outside bins. Ants outside are far better than ants in the house.
KICKING THE TENANTS OUT
Not literally the people living in your house, but the ants that have started their new invasion. There are more ways than people realise to repel ants and you can see results very quickly.
- Sprinkle ground coffee around the area they are coming in or the areas you find them e.g. the bathroom (they love the water) the kitchen cupboards, your bedside table, the skirting board of the floor and even on the window sills. Not only will it make your house smell like a coffee shop, it will repel the ants very quickly. Ants HATE the scent of coffee it's like burning garbage bags covered in hot dog poop to you, it also blocks their scent tracks they use to get around.
- Mint tea bags. You can easily make holes in the top and dangle them around places. Tie a bracelet or a piece of string around your bedposts and dangle them there each night, dangle them from under a table, from a door handle or even just toss them around on the floor. Ants HATE the smell of mint and they won't be interested in the tea leaves.
- Mint leaves - these also work and you can sprinkle them around anywhere just the same as, instead of or along with the coffee. The more you use, the more repellent there is. Be sure to sprinkle it on the floor, around your bed and especially where the ants are coming in as it will stop them in their tracks!
- White Vinegar. Mix it with water (or use pure) in a spray bottle and spritz it around the area they are coming in and anywhere you have seen them. Sure it may smell a little strongly to you if you are close to it but it isn't going to kill you and it is also a great fungicide.
- Lavender. Some people like to hang a sprig above a door frame for protection, others like to use it to terrorise ants with. Sprinkle some of it as directed with the coffee and mint, have a bunch of lavender flowers, lavender toys e.g. microwave plushies which contain lavender. Sit them on your bed, sofa or anywhere on display, they can help deter the ants and look great in your home. Planting lavender outside may also help deter ants there, too.
- Cinnamon. Sprinkle as directed above with coffee etc, not only will your house smell of fresh cooking, it will keep the ants away. Ants hate spices and cinnamon is a great example for ant repellent. You can also use cinnamon sticks.
- CANDLES: Now these are a hit and miss, burning lavender, peppermint, coffee, cinnamon and even apple candles may help to deter the ants. They have a very good sense of smell and with it wafting through the air it may help repel them.
- Incense: Another hit and miss item, the sticks themselves are not necessarily healthy for us, however they can help with the smell. You don't even need to light them (for health nuts) just leave the sticks on the floor or hidden in places or even in a holder to help repel the ants.
- Garlic - Ants hate garlic, chopping up fresh garlic, using anything with garlic granules or powder can really make those ants run a mile. Wedge the cloves outside, sprinkle the powder around and get the granules in the wall cracks.
- SALT - ants won't cross a boundary of salt. Draw a thick line of salt, a heavy pile, sprinkles everywhere. You can sprinkle salt into your carpet and it will hoover back up again in time. Having trails of salt might seem annoying, but it will stop them.
- Chalk. Ants also won't cross a line of chalk.
- Baby powder. Ants hate baby powder the same as they hate spices, however, they are more likely to go through this than a nice wall of cinnamon.
- A one I personally found rather easy was body spray or deodorant. Spray it around where the ants come in and it can help keep them away. They don't like strong smells and this includes your perfume. This one is another hit and miss.
- Toothpaste. I don't necessarily recommend this as a first option, but toothpaste with a strong mint scent can help repel the ants. They hate mint (especially peppermint) however, some types of ant find toothpaste extremely alluring.
- Floor cleaner. Using this won't stop the ants for long, however if you continually wipe the floor down and the areas you see them, it will remove their scent tracks. Ants rely on their sense of smell to get around and use tracks to find their way back to food sources.
These items are all great and safe to use in the home (check for allergies) and try to keep pets away, most store bought products are NOT safe to use in homes where you sleep, children play or where pets can be around them. Don't allow people to remove or play in the items, mainly because they will no longer be there to get rid of your ants. Please refresh and replace items and keep the floors and surfaces wiped down and vacuumed to get rid of any possible ants.
Tips and Advice
If you spill a bit of cola on the floor where there are ants and look back in an hour of so, there will be MILLIONS of them. Some people see an ant in their home and bash or step on it, although it seems cruel, it can be a much faster way to die (if you are determined to kill them) than a slow poisoning from store products.
If you are one of the people that steps and bashes, please be aware that you MUST sweep up or hoover the ant debris away. Ants will use their dead as a food supply (which is why you see ants carrying one another) because they have no qualms about taking their grandmother home to devour her for breakfast tomorrow. Ants don't have the same emotional or logical capacity to humans. Once removed, wash the floors down. Having dead ants everywhere (whether you killed them or something else did) they will attract more ants.
Try plugging an air freshener in and switching it on to a higher setting that smells of anything as directed above, this may help with the ant problem.
When dealing with repellents, please use the advice above and use plenty of them. Sprinkling a small dusting isn't going to cut it, you need to get that coffee right in there, get it everywhere. Get those tea bags hanging all over the place, get the garlic cloves on full display and get everything out good. Ants usually come in from a low spot so be extra careful to get it in around doors.
ANTS LOVE MOISTURE from bathroom's and sinks, it is their water supply so be sure to wipe all surfaces and keep them as dry as possible.
If your anthill is outside you can use one of the following options to remove it:
- A store bought ant powder/ chemical. Use as directed.
- Boiling water, pouring it under the paving, the slabs, onto the hill or around their nest will get rid of them.
- Calling in a professional to remove it. In some cases this is necessary especially if it is inside a wall, home insulation, under your floor boards or if you just don't want to do it. It is important to remove the nest.
- Sprinkle ant powder down around the whole perimeter of the home, get in at the cracks and against the walls, this will help stop them if their nest is against the house, in the walls or if they are coming in front a more distant place. Usually the nest will be fairly close to you.
Now your ants should have disappeared or been removed by now, you are probably feeling excited. If one method hasn't worked for you, please try another, you can try multiple things at the same time and this may give a faster relief.
Ants are usually no longer a problem by June or July if you really can't get rid of them.
If you are feeling anxious about the ants, you can wash your bedding and clothes in lavender scented or other scented items, if you feel brave then even sprinkle coffee on your bed, in your shoes and around your clothing areas. I personally don't like the taste of coffee but the smell is just fine with me and it does help with the ants very quickly, the same as mint and all other suggested items.
Remember to spread the word and if you have any suggestions or advice of your own leave a comment below :)
I hope I have helped you and you got all the answers you were looking for.